Appeal to Pity: Argumentum ad Misericordiam

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SUNY Press, May 8, 1997 - Language Arts & Disciplines - 225 pages
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Appeal to pity has frequently been exploited with amazing success as a deceptive tactic of argumentation, so much so that it has traditionally been treated as a fallacy. Using a case study method, the author examines examples of appeals to pity and compassion in real arguments in order to classify, analyze, and evaluate the types of arguments used in these appeals. Among the cases studied are the controversial use of poster kids in the Jerry Lewis Telethon for Muscular Dystrophy and the baby incubators story deployed by a public relations firm to influence the decision to send U.S. forces into Kuwait during the Gulf War. In addition to the analyses of these and other case studies, this book provides, for the first time, precise guidelines and useful criteria with which to identify, analyze, and evaluate instances of the ad misericordiam argument."
 

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Contents

The Textbook Treatment
1
1 IRRELEVANCE
2
2 APPEAL TO PITY AS INHERENTLY FALLACIOUS
5
3 NOT ALL CASES FALLACIOUS?
7
4 LEGAL CASES
11
5 THE STUDENTS PLEA CASE
15
6 EXCUSES AS ARGUMENTS
20
7 CHARITABLE APPEALS
22
7 WHAT DELIBERATION IS ABOUT
115
8 THE CASE OF WALTER THE HARDNOSED LOGICIAN
117
9 EVOLUTIONARY LOGIC OF APPEAL TO FEELING
120
10 CONCLUSIONS SUMMARIZED
122
The Nayirah Case
127
2 ANALYSIS OF THE CASE
132
3 BIAS AND EVIDENCE
135
4 EVALUATION OF THE CASE
138

8 ARGUMENT FROM CONSEQUENCES
26
9 JUDGING FALLACIOUS CASES
28
10 SUMMARY
31
Historical Background
35
2 EARLIEST KNOWN ORIGINS OF AD MISERICORDIAM
38
3 ANCIENT USE AS A COURTROOM TACTIC
41
4 SOCRATES REJECTION OF APPEAL TO PITY
45
5 ARISTOTLE ON APPEAL TO PITY ELEOS
48
6 THE STOIC CONDEMNATION OF PITY
51
7 THE CHRISTIAN VIEW OF PITY
54
8 SYMPATHY AS AN ETHICAL CONCEPT
57
9 EARLY MODERN VIEWS OF PITY
59
10 TERMINOLOGICAL QUESTIONS
61
Identifying the Ad Misericordiam As a Type of Argument
64
1 THE JERRY LEWIS TELETHON FOR MUSCULAR DYSTROPHY
65
2 NEGATIVE ATTITUDES TOWARD PITY
69
3 A DEFINITION OF PITY
73
4 MERCY AND PITY
78
5 A PRAGMATIC CONCEPT OF EMPATHY
81
6 A DEFINITION OF SYMPATHY
84
7 COMPASSION AND PITY
88
8 THE SPEECH ON HEALTH SECURITY
90
9 CLASSIFICATION OF THE TYPES OF APPEALS
93
10 WHATS IN A NAME?
97
The Structure of the Argument
101
2 ARGUMENTS FROM NEED FOR HELP
103
3 ARGUMENT FROM DISTRESS
105
4 CHARITABLE APPEALS TO PITY
107
5 PRACTICAL REASONING
109
6 EVALUATING PRACTICAL REASONING
111
5 GENERAL ISSUES
140
6 THE KAIROS FACTOR
141
7 STAGED APPEALS TO PITY
142
8 TWISTING OF THE ARGUMENT
144
9 FALLACIOUSNESS OF THE AD MISERICORDIAM
145
10 ENSTASIS AND FALLACY
147
When Is It a Fallacy?
150
2 USE WITH DIFFERENT TYPES OF ARGUMENT
153
3 SUPPRESSED CRITICAL QUESTIONS
155
4 OUT OF CONTEXT AND PERSPECTIVE ARGUMENTS
157
5 THE WHOLE EVIDENCE REQUIREMENT
159
6 SUBTYPES OF AD MISERICORDIAM FALLACY
161
7 THE PRAGMATIC VIEW OF FALLACY
162
8 SENSITIVITY TO CONTEXT
166
9 DEFINING RELEVANCE
168
10 THE LOGICAL LEAP FROM ETHICAL PREMISES
169
Evaluation of Case Studies
173
2 THE MENENDEZ CASE
175
3 THE BABY SEALS CASE
179
4 EFFECTIVENESS OF AD MISERICORDIAM ARGUMENTS
182
5 COMPARING CASES
184
6 FURTHER COMMENTS ON CASES
186
7 THE STUDENTS PLEA CASE ANALYZED
190
8 THE THACKERAY CASE
192
9 SUMMARY OF THE METHOD
194
10 REVISING THE TEXTBOOKS
197
Notes
199
Bibliography
205
Index
217
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About the author (1997)

Douglas Walton is Professor of Philosophy at the University of Winnipeg, Canada. He is the author of numerous books, including Plausible Argument in Everyday Conversation and Commitment in Dialogue: Basic Concepts of Interpersonal Reasoning, both published by SUNY Press, as well as Arguments from Ignorance; Argumentation Schemes for Presumptive Reasoning; A Pragmatic Theory of Fallacy; The Pace of Emotion in Argument; Slippery Slope Arguments; Begging the Question: Circular Reasoning as a Tactic of Argumentation; Practical Reasoning: Goal-Driven, Knowledge-Based, Action-Guiding Argumentation; and Informal Logic: A Handbook for Critical Argumentation.

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